PGCB Supplies $45,000 In Fines To Pennsylvania Casinos In November

Written By Brian Cross on November 20, 2023
Image of a gavel and money for a story about the PGCB delivering $45,000 in fines to Pennsylvania casinos this week.

A popular PA casino and a slot machine manufacturer are facing hefty fines stemming from separate incidents. The fines, totaling $45,000, were handed down by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) on Wednesday at the latest board meeting.

Although none involved any PA online casinos, the PGCB fined Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course for permitting underage gaming.

Hollywood Casino Penn National operator fined $40,000 for underage gambling

The PGCB’s Office of Enforcement Counsel (OEC) presented two consent agreements on Wednesday, issuing fines to two gambling-related entities. The largest fine went to Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, LLC, which operates Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County.

Hollywood Casino representatives accepted a $40,000 fine for three incidents of individuals under 21 years old gaining access to the gaming floor and gambling in 2021 and 2022.

The first incident happened in July 2021. An 18-year-old with the initials DM used a fake ID to enter the casino. After the ID failed to scan twice, the assistant security shift manager questioned the visitor and ultimately allowed him to enter.

While inside the casino for 29 minutes, the individual was able to buy an alcoholic beverage and play a slot machine before security re-examined the ID and determined it was invalid. DM was evicted from the casino, as Pennsylvania State Police charged him with summary offenses related to having and using a fake ID to gamble and buy alcohol.

Additional instances of underage gaming at Hollywood Pennsylvania casino

In November 2021, a 17-year-old with the initials AB entered the casino without being carded at the door. He played slots for six minutes and was on the gaming floor for 25 minutes. He and another casino guest attempted to sell jewelry to other customers and left without being discovered.

Police then located a companion of AB on the gaming floor and were able to locate AB. He was charged with misdemeanor theft by deception, misdemeanor conspiracy and summary offenses for being on the gaming floor and gambling while under 21.

In June 2022, a 20-year-old with the initials JB was initially turned away at the door and returned to his vehicle for two hours. He then returned to the same entrance, presented his Colombian passport as ID and was granted entry. JB was on the gaming floor for one hour and was in close proximity to several casino employees. JB was evicted from the casino and charged with summary offenses for being on the gaming floor and gambling while under 21.

Hollywood Casino reps said that disciplinary action was taken, along with corrective action to avoid future incidents.

Tony Frabbiele, Vice President and general manager of Hollywood Casino, said at the meeting:

“We’ve also taken the corrective action with our team members that have been involved in these incidents, to do everything in our power to ensure they never happen again. We understand how important it is to protect the gaming floor and to keep underage off of casinos in Pennsylvania, and we’re going to do everything in our power to do so.”

PA slot machine manufacturer Lightning Gaming receives $5,000 fine

The PGCB also fined a PA slots machine manufacturing company, Lightning Gaming, Inc., for failing to notify the board of material changes to their financial status.

The Office of Enforcement Counsel said Lightning Gaming agreed to notify the board before any pending change of ownership or control of the company, or any change in financial status, such as changes in debt or other events. The OEC said the company has repeatedly failed to report material changes to its financial position to the board.

In 2021, the OEC held a compliance meeting with the company regarding six financial events, including changes to its debt position and changes to its master loan agreement. The company was reminded of the compliance requirements at that time.

Then in 2022, the company failed to meet certain financial covenants on its master loan agreement and the covenants were waived by the lender. Later, financial ratio covenants were changed on the loan agreement. Lightning Gaming failed to report these incidents and changes to the board.

Lightning Gaming CEO, Brian Haveson, told the board he thought the changes to the covenant agreement were a minor matter and didn’t need to be reported. He added that the failure to report was not nefarious or intentional and its financial information is reported publicly.

The consent agreement approved by the board on Wednesday requires Lightning Gaming to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 within five days, plus $2,500 for costs incurred by the board.

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Brian Cross contributes casino, sports betting and lottery coverage to PlayPennsylvania and PlayOhio. Brian studied Professional Writing and Journalism at the University of Cincinnati and has been a contributing writer at Cincinnati’s alt-weekly for over 10 years.

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